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Germany Summons Turkish Ambassador over Activists' Arrests

21 July 2017, 12:57 | Yvette Williams

Germany Summons Turkish Ambassador over Activists' Arrests

Germany Summons Turkish Ambassador over Activists' Arrests

The Steudtner case "shows that German citizens are no longer safe from arbitrary arrests in Turkey", Gabriel said.

Sigmar Gabriel said on Thursday that Germany would talk to European Union partners about Turkey's aspirations to join the bloc and made clear Berlin could no longer guarantee German corporate exports to the country under the government's Hermes loan program.

The German minister added that such developments made it "extremely difficult" to proceed with German investment in Turkey.

Ankara has handed Germany what German police sources called a "ridiculous" list of 68 companies and individuals in Germany who have ties with Fethullah Gulen, Die Zeit reported on Wednesday.

Germany last month pulled out its 260 military personnel from Turkey's Incirlik base, from where a multinational coalition is fighting the Islamic State jihadist group in Iraq and Syria, and redeployed them in Jordan.

Earlier Wednesday, a newspaper publisher said it has filed an appeal to Turkey's highest court against the incarceration for the past five months of a German-Turkish reporter.

According to Amnesty, the group are accused of supporting a terrorist organisation - a charge dismissed as "absurd" by the German Foreign Office.

Council of Europe's Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland said Thursday he told Turkey's Binali Yildirim that "human rights defenders should be able to fulfil their activities freely without being subject to arbitrary interferences by the authorities".

He said any German national travelling to Turkey could suffer the same fate.

Erdogan says the crackdown, in which roughly 50,000 people have been detained and 150,000 sacked or suspended from the judiciary and journalism to academia, was essential after the failed coup.

The list, forwarded to Germany several weeks ago, also names premium carmaker Daimler, but includes a Turkish fast food restaurant and a late-night food store, too.

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"We need our policies toward Turkey to go in a new direction. we can't continue as we have done until now".

Gabriel, however, stressed that Berlin still wanted to rebuild relations with Ankara, while urging Erdogan's administration "to return to European values".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel sided with the foreign minister.

"No one invests in a country.in which the judiciary has been degraded to be a helper of the ruling AKP party", he said.

Speaking on a visit to Turkish-backed breakaway northern Cyprus, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned Berlin that Turkey could hit back at Germany, without giving details.

"We should discuss the future of framework investment contracts, loans and providing German assistance", he said.

He pointed to Germany's election in September, saying: "It's unacceptable to try and damage economic relations, try and arouse doubts in the minds of German investors, for the sake of petty electoral calculations".

He suggested Gabriel's remarks were meant to win votes at national elections in two months. The Turkish president, said Hardt, "is absolutely irrational from my point of view, he is hurtful to his country".

Gabriel's warnings to tourists as well as business travelers could deal a significant blow to southern resorts.

The newspaper Die Zeit reported that Turkish authorities had several weeks ago, handed Berlin a list of 68 German companies they accused of having links to USA -based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Mehmet Simsek, Turkey's deputy prime minister, said on Thursday the reports were untrue.



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